Adding to the list of needs for the Astros is some real defenders. I stopped following the numbers about the time the Astros started swooning, but the 2009 Astros finished as easily the worst defensive unit in the National League, with a defensive efficiency rating of .683. That’s about 100 hits they allowed that an average defensive team would have turned into outs.
They’re a long way from the Astros of the early part of the decade, who excelled on defense. The World Series team led the league in defensive efficiency at .715. That doesn’t sound far from .683, but it’s a hit allowed and another batter every game. Those hits add up.
The Astros had two plus defenders in 2009, according to the Fielding Bible — Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence. (Lance Berkman saved one run. Shockingly, Carlos Lee turned out to be only a minus-3. Tejada was a brutal -16 in the field, essentially undoing his fine season at the bat.) They could get to three cheaply by signing Joe Crede, who saved 12 runs at third base last year. If Tommy Manzella turns out to be a plus defender, that would give them four. That would be a start.